Local and Touring Concerts
Music From the Heart of Now: Making Songs for Our Time
A long time advocate for and supporter of her peers’ compositions, Ali Garrison, has created this solo concert as an opportunity for her rich diversity of international composer colleagues to shine. Ali’s latest musical outpouring is a tribute to the music of her contemporaries.
Singing the songs of seven of her contemporaries (including herself as an improvising composer), Ms. Garrison explores the rich complexity of voices and perspectives of some of the most brilliant composers in her musical village. “We must encourage each other to create songs in response to all the myriad inspirations in our current world as we each perceive it… Life, ideas, feelings, people, Nature. That is how the collective culture that represents our time and place is born and then nurtured“, says the singer.
The composers that have written pieces for Ali include Seattle Pacific University professor, composer, gospel/jazz vocalist, and worship leader, Stephen Michael Newby; Director of Music at Universidad del Valle de Guatemala,pianist and composer, Maria Isabel Ciudad-Real; American conductor and composer, Kevin McMahon; Toronto guitarist, teacher and composer, William Beauvais; and Ryan Billington, Canadian conductor, arranger, improviser, teacher, composer, and voice faculty at St. Francis Xavier. Finally, improvisational co-composers, Downeast Maine pianist, Nancy Bennet and Ali Garrison created a song cycle that is performed as a written transcription of the original improvisation.
SpringScapes: Musical Intuitions, Conversations and Other Encouragements
with Ali Garrison and Friends
Compelled to bring a concert of free improvisation to her Toronto audiences after years of playing exclusively amongst friends, Les Trois Etoiles in Downeast Maine, singer, Ali Garrison hosts performances with several of her favorite collaborative muses.
One of Toronto’s favorite daughters of song, Ali feels that “…through improvisation, we learn to love and live artfully, to make music that is relevant to our lives and our state of body, mind, heart and spirit. We co-compose, conversing melodically, rhythmically, harmonically, listening carefully, trading ideas back and forth, weaving a rich tapestry of progressions in the moment. We seem to enter an altered state and after each piece, it’s as though we’re returning from far off worlds that we have visited together.”
This playful performance features delightful guest conspirators as well as the audience!
THE MOTHER OF US ALL
An unusually beautiful sacred program featuring music written for mezzo-soprano that has been either created or re-arranged for organ accompaniment. The themes explore Mother Mary’s perspective on Christ’s life and death and the mystery and depth of a Feminine experience of Spirituality and Divinity .The concert includes familiar music by Vaughan Williams, J.S. Bach and Pergolesi mixed in with the rarely performed in full “Missa ‘in simplicitate’ by Langlais, special selections from Canadian composer, Robert Fleming’s Confession Stone and the music of Bartolucci, Bruckner and Virgil Thompson. Ali has performed this program at the King City Music Series as well as the St. Timothy Anglican Church Concert Series.
Approximately 90 minutes in length with no intermission. Requires a full stop organ in excellent condition. Appropriate for all ages.
Inspired by a profound, technicolour dream vision of lapis lazuli, amber, jade and other colourful semi-precious stones in their natural imperfect splendor, Ali Garrison has created this vibrant and compelling solo concert from richly varied song influences. The inaugural, sold-out performance of ‘Mosaic’ took place on Saturday, March 5, at Gallery 345, a jewel itself on Toronto’s happening west side and featured pianist, Joy Brown and Ina Henning, virtuosic accordionist. Singing in Korean, French, English, German and Italian, Ms. Garrison blends opera, jazz, and folk idioms. “Each set of unique, seemingly unrelated songs contributes to an interlocking whole, through different subtle connections”, says the singer. “‘Mosaic’ is an aesthetic and a spiritual journey, an exploration of personal and collective energy and impressions that builds into a larger portrait.” Selected composers include Tosti who was a turn-of-the-century salon composer and voice instructor of the royal family, Kurt Weill, Duke Ellington, famous French jazz force Michel Legrand and Anthony Davis who composed the opera “X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X”. Other works include operatic arias by Virgil Thomson with words by Gertrude Stein, and a set of songs featuring the poetry of Langston Hughes who was one of the Harlem Renaissance’s foremost poets.
Approximately 90 minutes in length with no intermission. Requires a grand piano in excellent condition. Appropriate for all ages.
ALI GARRISON & MARK RAINEY SING SONGS FROM GERSHWIN’S PORGY & BESS
This is a brilliant collaboration by two well-loved Toronto artists, interpreting songs from Gershwin’s opera, Porgy and Bess into an original soulful, crossover slam! In the tradition of Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong and Ray Charles & Cleo Laine, Ali Garrison & Mark Rainey put a sizzling spin on these classics, stirring up an innovative stew that you’ll never forget.
After introducing this successful show in March 2012 to Green Door Cabaret’s discerning audience, Garrison and Rainey were asked back for the Green Door’s Toronto Jazz Festival offerings in June 2012. Using their superb, addictive voices and combined vast, varied musical experience to plumb the depths of this great music, they enchant us with their original take on Gershwin’s masterpiece, blending opera and jazz idioms with improvisation, promising a perfect recipe for a wonderful night out. “Interpreting this magnificent score with Mark, who, I have to warn you, can turn the most hard-hearted listener to mush, is such an honour and an adventure,” says Ali Garrison. Her long-time friend and collaborator Mark Rainey adds, “With Ali’s passionate interpretations and her spirit of openness she will draw you in and take you with her!”
Selected songs from Porgy and Bess will include interpretations of such favourites as the gorgeous lullaby, Summertime; a romping I Got Plenty O’ Nothin’; the funky It Ain’t Necessarily So; the tragic blues, My Man’s Gone Now; and the poignant I Loves You, Porgy, performed in its original and wonderful duet form! Each song arrangement is crafted by the artists to focus on the beauty and relevance of Gershwin’s score, an endless wellspring of inspiration.
THE ALI SHOW
Returning in 2012, The Ali Show is a variety show/revue in a funky little venue in downtown Toronto featuring eclectic and fantastic talent. Expect the marvelously unexpected.